Being committed to healthy hair doesn’t mean you have to throw away all your heated styling tools. While the best way to achieve healthy hair faster is to avoid heat, these damage-control flatiron tips from AOL’s Black Voices will help out when you want sleeker, straighter hair from time to time.

  • Always apply a heat protectant to freshly shampooed hair before you flatiron; don’t flatiron hair that’s dirty.
  • Only flatiron your hair once a week at the most.
  • Make sure your hair is completely dry before ironing each section.
  • Work in small sections and set the heat to medium/medium low. This way, you’ll achieve straighter hair and apply less heat.
  • Use a rattail comb to grab and comb the hair as you iron. This will help pull the hair taunt and make the process more efficient.
  • Pass on flatirons with embedded teeth or combs, which can pull and snag textured hair.
  • Stop using the flatiron if smoke or steam rises from your hair or the iron.
  • Purchase flatirons that are made with tourmaline, ceramic and titanium metals because they heat more evenly and are less damaging to textured hair.
  • Ask your stylist to recommend flatirons that are safe and easy to use at home.
  • Only purchase flatirons that have temperature controls; those without can become extremely hot.

Click here for more tips about keeping your hair healthy and damage-free.